LGBT bad, Anti-LGBT good
We wrote yesterday about the discovery that parts of the Defense Department ban access, from military computers, to a class of Web sites it labels “LGBT,” an abbreviation for gay and trans, while not banning a number of top anti-LGBT sites.
Today we discover even more “LGBT” sites that the Pentagon bans – Good as You, and Bilerico – while it apparently has no problem with the Web site of one of the most virulently anti-gay hate groups, the American Family Association, which is easily accessible from a military computer.
In addition, while the Pentagon bans Pam’s House Blend and AMERICAblog for being “political” and “activist,” it does not ban other political activist sites such as NOM, Red State, Breitbart, Glenn Beck, and the aforementioned American Family Association, which is so political and activist that it has been designated an official “hate group.”
It’s worth noting that the Pentagon apparently bans pro-LGBT sites, but anti-LGBT sites are permittecd. And while some have argued “oh, it must be a more general porn filter you got caught in,” then why didn’t NOM and AFA get caught in the same filter? Lord knows the religious right has some of the smuttiest gay content around.
And finally, others argued “oh, the Pentagon must ban ‘blogs’ generically.” Putting aside for a moment why the US government has an official policy that “blogs,” across the board, are somehow worthy of government censorship, why is lead conservative blog Red State not blocked while lead progressive blog DailyKos is?
Yesterday, we noted that the Air Force bans access to this site, AMERICAblog, claiming we are “political” and an “activist group,” and bans popular gay news blog Towleroad for being “LGBT.” Here’s are the results you get when trying to pull up those two sites on an Air Force computer:
Note the results specifically give the reason for the ban: “political/activist groups;blogs” and “LGBT.”
The Air Force also bans the Web site of Josh Seefried, one of the cofounders of OutServe, a lead “gays in the military” organization that was heavily involved in getting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed. Seefried is also guilty of committing the sin of being “LGBT.”
At the same time, the Air Force does not ban Rush Limbaugh’s Web site, nor Ann Coulter’s, both of which are clearly “political,” arguably “activist,” and certainly anti-LGBT. (The DOD bans appears localized, and varies by service and geographic region of the country, suggesting local control over the banning software.)
The Ban Plays On
Today, things got decidedly worse.
Good as You – banned for being “LGBT” (and a “blog”)
Pam’s House Blend – gay news site banned for being a “political” “activist” “blog”
American Family Association – anti-LGBT political activist, officially-designated hate group, is not banned
NOM – anti-LGBT political activists not banned (note that NOM’s home page says it has a “blog”)
Red State – Republican political activist blog, not banned (while AMERICAblog, Pam’s House Blend and other progressive sites are banned for being a “blog,” among other reasons)
Glenn Beck – Republican political activist, not banned (note that Beck too has a blog)
Breitbart – Republican political activist blog, not banned
It’s hard to know if the sleight is arbitrary and capricious, or simply someone at the Pentagon being terribly bad at their job, but the fact remains that the “LGBT” Internet ban has existed since the days of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the Pentagon was informed of this problem this past summer and has chosen to do nothing about it.
And while one could possible forgive the Pentagon for not realizing that their computers practice potentially unconstitutional, and certainly bigoted, censorship, it’s an entirely different story once the Pentagon has been informed that it is discriminating against its gay and lesbian service members and is refusing to do anything to correct the situation.
As a friend pointed out to me yesterday, suddenly that whole Hagel nomination controversy – where there were concerns about former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel’s name being floated as President Obama’s possible next Secretary of Defense, as he has a serious anti-gay record – becomes a lot more relevant. The days of anti-gay bigotry and indifference at the Pentagon are, sadly, not over.
Of course, the final irony is that many at the Pentagon won’t even be able to read this site in order to find out what the problem is, and fix it.